It’s possible that Qualcomm’s deal is why Windows on ARM laptops is so bad

It's possible that Qualcomm's deal is why Windows on ARM laptops is so bad

For most people, this news will evoke a halfhearted shrug–it’s not like Windows on ARM laptops are flying off shelves or ever get recommended by anyone who has used them. Qualcomm Reveals Some Details About Its New 8-Series Snapdragon Chips. Microsoft Just Stepped Up Windows 11’s Emoji Game and Brought Clippy Back to Life. MediaTek Aims to Beat Qualcomm With New Flagship Smartphone Chip. But that could change.

Allow your Mac-owning friends to brag about the blazing speeds of Apple’s new M-series chips all they want; after all, who needs speed when you have freedom of choice? That is, or should be, one of the advantages of purchasing a computer. Microsoft may have been limiting the hardware that could power certain Windows 11 computers. Because of an exclusive deal between Microsoft and Qualcomm, ARM-based Windows devices have only been powered by one type of processor, according to XDA Developers. Do you want a Windows on ARM laptop that doesn’t include a Qualcomm processor? It’s a pity, because it doesn’t exist. Not yet, at least. XDA has learned from multiple sources acquainted with the matter that the pact between major big giants is worth billions of dollars.

Once the exclusivity expires, the gates will open for other chip makers to try their hand at a viable ARM PC chip, and that should excite those who recognize the benefits of the architecture, which offers lower power consumption and better wireless integration, among other perks. Apple’s new MacBook Pro models, with their speedy M1 Pro and M1 Max CPUs, demonstrate the potential of ARM to deliver record-setting performance and endurance. Windows on ARM, for as long as it’s been around, lags far behind.

Analogue Pocket Pre-Orders Will Start Shipping on December 13. Motorola Is Releasing Yet Another Cheap Moto G Power for Some Reason. Microsoft Is Replacing Windows Media Player With an App Called… Media Player for Windows. That certainly isn’t due to a lack of trying. Microsoft announced Windows on ARM in 2016 with the ability to run 32-bit, x86 apps via an emulator. A few years later, the company launched the Surface Pro X, an ARM-based version of its Surface Pro tablets running on a custom version of the Snapdragon 8cx SoC. It was critically panned for being overpriced and underpowered, along with software compatibility issues. Microsoft addressed that last issue recently by bringing 64-bit, x84 emulation to Windows 11 (but abandoned plans to do so for Windows 10).

Qualcomm’s efforts haven’t done enough to shift Windows away from aging x86 processors, but perhaps another company can be more successful. One chip vendor already eager to try is MediaTek, whose CEO, Rick Tsai, said in an earnings call last month that he wants the company’s processors under the hood of future Windows 11 PCs. Samsung is also rumored to launch a laptop running on its own ARM-based Exynos processor.

Even Mac owners should get excited about the possibility of an ARMs race. As MacRumors points out, the handshake between Microsoft and Qualcomm may have something to do with why you can’t use Windows 11 on new ARM-based Macs. We wouldn’t get our hopes up too high, but this deal expiring could remove one roadblock from getting the latest Windows onto the latest Mac. By subscribing you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
We have reached out to Microsoft to confirm the details of XDA Developers’ report and will update this article if we hear back.

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